"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Three Months DTE!

Today is our three month DTE anniversary! This means we've now officially been waiting for our son for three months. When our dossier first arrived in Ethiopia, we were #18 in line for an infant boy. We're now #7! We were hoping at this point to be a little farther up the list, but the Ethiopia program has hit quite a few road bumps lately. At the beginning of June, the Ethiopian courts issued a new rule requiring each child's original birth certificate be located before a court date could be issued. This put a stop to families receiving court dates and referrals for almost three weeks while birth certificates were being found.

Our adoption agency's Yahoo Group decided to storm the gates of heaven and take all of our worries, frustrations and concerns to Jesus on Sunday night, June 20. We held a two-hour prayer vigil lifting up each family in each stage of the adoption process. Monday morning, June 21, the flood gates opened! This week has been amazing! So many new court dates, referrals, and travel dates have been issued! Praise the Lord for His goodness and for the blessings He has poured out over our adoption group!

Now that the ball has begun rolling again, we are really feeling hopeful that July might be the month we get to see our son's face. The closer we get, the harder the wait seems. I am literally aching to know my son. My heart aches to fall in love with him, my eyes ache to see his precious face, and my arms ache to hold him close and let him know that he is ours.

The Lord has placed on my heart many times throughout this journey, Isaiah 43:5, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." I know that He has called us to this journey and He is the one orchestrating each step. His timing is perfect, and when the wait gets difficult, that is where I rest.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Know You're an Adoptive Parent if:

You know you're an adoptive parent (or should be) if...

1. The fact that there are 147 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.

2. You realize that DNA has nothing to do with love and family.

3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.

4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.

5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.

6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about an adopted child's "real" parents.

7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth (2 years!).

8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt, but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you, He will provide.

9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.

10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.

11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.

12. You know what "dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!

13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.

14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

Author Unknown

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Yesterday was Father's Day, and I spent the day celebrating the two wonderful fathers in my life... the one I was lucky enough to be born to and the one I was lucky enough to marry. But I also spent the day thinking of our son in Ethiopia. Yesterday he spent the day fatherless. Next year though, he'll be celebrating with a daddy who loves him and wants him more than anything!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drum Roll Please.....

WOW! We are truly in awe of how many people donated, shopped, helped, spread the word, and prayed for us during our sale to raise money for the orphans in Ethiopia. God really worked in a BIG way this weekend! We had a goal in mind of $1000. And after two days, we raised..... $1968! Isn't that amazing?!? When we add in the additional money given to us as donations, we raised a total of $2568! We are so thankful for God's goodness to us, and are so excited to start shopping for all of the needed items for the orphanages and care-centers we will visit while we're in Ethiopia! Thank you to everyone who played a part in this weekend. It was a bit overwhelming at times, and we couldn't have done it without the help of our dear friends and family. We especially want to thank Brian and Tina Billingsly. None of this would have been possible without them!!

Our HUGE sale in progress!

Brian and Charlie manning the sale with a little help from Erin

Emma, Ellie and Erin were so excited to have a lemonade and cookie stand so that they, too, could do their part in helping raise money. We were so proud of them!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thank You!

The card we handed out during our garage sale...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gearing Up for the Big Sale!

Well, its almost 11:00 pm and the last box is finally unpacked. We are truly blown away by the generous donations we've received for our garage sale this weekend. It has taken two straight days, our entire garage, playroom, and office, and a whole lot of good friends and family to get it all sorted, priced and organized!

We've had almost twenty families donate to our sale, and we have more items to sell than I ever thought possible! I am so excited knowing that all of the money raised will go to purchasing donations and supplies for the orphanages and care-centers we will visit while we're in Ethiopia.

We're ready to go, and we can't wait to see what God will do!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ethiopian Cooking Lesson

We are so blessed that our local Ethiopian church, Indianapolis Grace Ethiopian Church, has an outreach ministry to adoptive families. (To learn more, click HERE.) Once a month, they invite us to get together to learn about Ethiopian culture and to meet and share with other families who are or have adopted from Ethiopia. It has been such a great resource for us, and we look forward to these meetings for so many reasons, not the least of which is that they feed us Ethiopian food each time! I love Ethiopian food, and yesterday's meeting was an Ethiopian cooking lesson! :) I don't quite feel like a pro yet, but it was so much fun to watch and learn!

Pastor Yosef and some members of the I.G.E.C.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trees of Glory Update

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27

Have you ever considered what this might mean to your family? God tells each us without exception to care for the orphans. He is not calling each of us to adopt, but we are all called to do SOMETHING to help care for an orphan.

Please take a minute to read this e-mail we received earlier today. If you have ever thought about helping an orphan or wondered how you could answer God's call, maybe this is the way. Maybe today is the day.

Dear Sponsor families -

Ginia with Children's Hopechest was in Ethiopia last week and spent the day Thursday, with the kids and staff at "Trees of Glory" care-point. The team took bread and bananas to the kids and were able to meet many of the care-givers as well.

Ginia explained to me that the situation here is pretty desperate. Most of the kids are orphans, and have been taken in by a guardian or family member that is barely able to provide for them. Many of these kids are being "sold" for $12 a year (like an indentured servant) to local livestock owners - and they work day and night herding cattle. These kids never would have had the opportunity to go to school and she said many of them are starving!

The government has actually intervened on behalf of the kids, and is requiring the guardians to bring the kids to the care-point where they will be provided for. Because of the sponsor program - these kids will have opportunities they NEVER would have had without YOU! Not only basic necessities like food, clothing and medical care - but the director at Trees of Glory is hoping to be able to hire teachers and start a school by September. It's a lofty goal in a short time period - but together and with prayer, we can make this happen for these kids!

In addition, there are no Christians living in this area of Ethiopia, so the kids are hearing the true Gospel for the very first time. The dominant religion in the area is Orthodox, which has a Christian influence but includes much supersticion and "witchcraft" as well. The director is a Christian woman and is planning to use one of the buildings on the property as a church, not only for the kids, but also for the community.

There are many kids still in need of a sponsor. Please visit www.family-from-afar.blogspot.com or e-mail Karen Wistrom at kjwistrom@yahoo.com to find out more information on how you can get involved!

Trees of Glory kids and their guardians

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A New Addition to our Family!

We are so excited to announce our new "addition." We were just matched with a precious sponsor child in Ethiopia! We have partnered with Children's Hopechest to help provide this beautiful girl with food, water, access to medical care, education and discipleship.

Children's Hopechest is working with a care-point center in Ethiopia called "Trees of Glory." There are 84 children there currently hoping for a sponsor. These children are mostly orphans who are living with a family member who can barely provide for them and many of them are severely malnourished and frequently ill. A sponsorship will help ensure these children access to a better environment, improved health, tutoring, and Bible training. It also allows for the sponsor to communicate one-on-one with the child, offering them encouragement, guidance, and the love of Christ.

If you have ever thought about sponsoring a child, please let NOW be the time. Your decision to sponsor a child will have a lasting impact on their lives.

You can read more about Trees of Glory and view the pictures of children who still need sponsors by visiting the blog of Karen Wistrom at www.family-from-afar.blogspot.com.

Trees of Glory is the location Charlie and I will be visiting later this year when we travel to Ethiopia. We will be providing them with donations as well meeting our precious sponsor child! If you decide to sponsor a child at this location, please let us know as we would be so honored to meet them and take photos for you!